September 18, 2018
The image of a woman, mouth agape, neck craned
as she cried out in agony
yelling at the heavens
lodged itself in its own corner of my mind.
Her raw anguish.
From the pages of an art history book
and a slide in a darkened lecture hall,
her flattened face imprinted itself
I would see her one day.
I studied the floor plan
and as we made our way through each exhibit,
plodded down each corridor,
around every sharp white corner,
I steadied myself.
I would not encounter her unprepared.
Why is a crowd gathering over there?
What are they looking at?
Please, walk with me, my love.
Hold my hand.
I don't want to face her alone.
One left turn,
and then another…
filling the wall,
Guernica was exposed.
Facing the scene,
and the anguished woman in the scene,
and the bull and the flame and the crumbled ruins,
a young woman consoles a wiggly baby,
an unshaven man pushes a much older one in a wheelchair,
clusters of onlookers stand shoulder-to-shoulder
Like a game of Red Rover
except we never go over.
We don't dare enter
So we walk away.
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